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Customer Retention. Automated

Back to School. It’s Personal.

Posted by Aviva Imbrey on Jul 17, 2015 9:00:00 AM


Back to School is a huge retail event that’s just around the corner. Before ramping up your marketing by creating campaigns and special promotions, make sure to jump into your customers’ mindsets to see how back to school affects them.

That’s right. It’s simple, but so many marketers can get caught up in all the preparation for a large retail event and forget to take a stroll in their customers’ shoes to see which categories and target markets can be affected by back to school. By examining your customers’ buying habits through their past purchase history, as well as your retail category, you can create a framework to understand how to build the most effective customer segments. Once built, use these segments to craft specific messages and promotions to bring your orders in!

Here’s your checklist for crafting unique segments for your business and customer base.

  1. Know what back to school means for your customers:

    1. Fresh start, new year

    2. Back to routines, back to the grind, vacation is over

    3. Some parents have more time during the day for fitness or services

    4. More structure, faster pace

    5. Sports start back up

    6. Basics are needed, from socks to floss

    7. Fast service, on the go

    8. Transportation picks up

    9. Demographics: suburbia,rural, urban, school districts, colleges, traditional schedules, year-round schedules, socio-economic differences in areas

    10. Time to get organized, set up for success

    11. Work schedules change to accommodate school schedules

    12. Pre-packing materials: range from lunch food, sporting goods, underwear, to band aids

    13. Healthcare ramps up: physicals, shots, supplies

    14. Spending based on needs instead of wants

  1. Think outside the box: So you don’t sell notebooks and school uniforms, but your customers are still impacted by back to school. Think about the ripple effect the start of the school year has for every industry, family, and persona.

  1. Timing: What purchase times and dates correlate with a back-to-school customer?

    1. Look at factors around the full month of August: Ex. Southern schools start before Aug 25th, Northern schools start after Labor Day

    2. 2014 and 2013 buyers

    3. Correlated holidays: Christmas break buyer's, school holidays

    4. Product and time period: Mother’s Day, summer, etc.

    5. Timing changes in zip codes: Year-round, magnet, public, prep, boarding schools, after schools,  private schools, and colleges

    6. Time of day- How does the school day and changes in your customers’ routines affect your orders? When should you run your emails so that busy moms and college students are more likely to see them?

    7. School is out! Time to shop! Know the dates for when school's end, vacations, teacher appreciation weeks, work-days, spring breaks, etc.

  1. Bundle! Accessories!

    1. Match low margin, big sellers, and essentials with high margin accessories

    2. Think details. What are all the possible items that could be added when someone purchases a thermos, a soccer uniform, a laptop, or hand sanitizer?

  1. Efficiency: It is a known fact that back-to-school shopping is not normally a leisurely activity for parents. They are looking for faster, cheaper, and more convenient ways so they can get the hell out of the store before their kids add too many things to their carts. Show them why online shopping is the way to go.

    1. Bargains, fast, efficient, simple

    2. Replenishment campaigns:  

      i. Segments: teachers, coaches, parents, clubs

      ii. What: healthcare, basic apparel, school supplies, sporting goods, uniforms

    3. Shipping deals due to time constraints

Now, apply this checklist to your business to find out what types of segments you can identify. You will be ready to start building out specific segments that bring in some business to cap off the summer!  Whether you sell tires or book bags, you can create segments that will connect to your back-to-school customers. Get creative!

A note on building segments:

Windsor Circle makes building segments fast, easy, and seemingly limitless at the fingertips of  many retailers and email marketers. You can build combinations from countless data points to craft specific and targeted customer segments. Here is an example of how to build a segment:

The picture above is an example of how simple it is  to find out who bought lunch boxes in a specific zip code last year during peak back-to-school time.

Below are some examples of the many fields and qualifiers that can be used to mix and match to create segments. The sky’s your limit!

With these data capabilities, you can cater directly to your customer base and send personalized and relevant marketing messages.

To learn more about Advanced Segment Builder.

Topics: Customer Retention, Holiday Marketing, Best Practices

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